Sun Devils Comeback Falls Short

Resiliency helped ASU beat Iowa at home a week ago. Against another Big Ten member, Minnesota, that trait almost had the them achieve another impressive win, this time on the road. After trailing by 19 with 7:38 left the game in Minneapolis, the Sun Devils clawed back to within two. Missed free throws in the waning moments of the contest aided the Golden Gophers to escape with a 66-63 win.

Many were curious how Minnesota (3-5) would come out in their first game since head coach Don Monson stepped down just 48 hours ago. The Gophers, under interim coach Jim Molinari did play fairly well in the first 20 minutes, but were never able to shake off Arizona State (4-3) during that period. Jeff Pendergraph, who poured in 12 points in the first half, helped the Devils get out to a 7-2 lead after two and half minutes. The home team answered with an 11-1 run, and had a 13-8 edge at the 11:38 mark. The lead went back and forth between both teams, until Spencer Tollackson gave his squad a 28-26 lead, which would ultimately last until the final buzzer. That margin stayed in tact the rest of the way, as ASU trailed only 32-30 at halftime.

In many games, a big run in the first five minutes of the second half usually seals the game's fate. Thus, things were certainly looking bleak for Herb Sendek's team, as their zone defense was ineffective against the hot outside shooting of Minnesota. On offense, the maroon and gold greatly struggled and didn't score a field goal for the first 5:28 minutes of the half, missing 14 of their first 17 shots helping the Gophers to a 13-1 run.

ASU started chipping away at the aforementioned 19-point deficit, with the help of some tenacious pressure defense and three-point shooting by Christian Polk. Down 63-59 with 56 seconds left, Polk did miss the front end of a one-and-one free throw sequence and Antwi Atuahene proceeded to do the same 28 seconds later. Yet, a three-point basket by Jerren Shipp had the Devils down only 65-63 with 18 seconds remaining in the contest. The Gophers' Dan Coleman made things interesting when he missed one of two charity stripe shots, but Shipp's missed three-point attempt kept maters in tact and snapped a three-game wining streak for the maroon and gold.

Pendergraph had a team-high 19 points, and led all players on the floor with 11 rebounds. Polk had 16 points and was the only other ASU player in double figures. Atuahene paced his team with five assists. The Sun Devils didn't fair well from the field (38.9%) or from the free throw line (61.5%), but did out rebound their opponent 40-30. Lawrence McKenzie's 20 points led the way for Gophers.

ASU will take off two weeks for final exams and then face Xavier on December 16th in Cincinnati.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories